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THE ROUTE FROM SYRIA TO EUROPE
Chapter V: Dignity

THE ROUTE FROM SYRIA TO EUROPE: Dignity

 

He is six years old. He is waiting his turn in the clinic that MSF runs the Turkish border town of Kilis. Mohamed is wearing a dark cap and an adult’s shirt with blue, white and green squares. His face and arms are burned. He is disfigured.

“A plane bombed us and he ended up like that,” his mother says. “We were in Gaziantep for three months. We’ve been here for 20 days.”

He does not want to be photographed: he’s ashamed and covers his face. After the doctor has seen him, however, he cheekily steals the camera from the photographer. Now he is in control. He passes his finger stumps over the button to take pictures. He walks around the doctor’s surgery. Click. Down the hall. Click. In the waiting room. Click.

It is the first time I had seen Mohamed smile since he arrived at the clinic. He has turned the situation around. Now he is the photographer: they can’t see him, he’s behind the camera, and he runs off in search of new images. He focuses on the world and presses the button to stop it, if only for a moment.

Click, click, click.